2 August 2014 19:22
Tjaronn Chery scored twice as Aston Villa were hammered 4-1 by Groningen at Euroborg on Saturday.
Groningen outclassed their opponents in the first half, racing into a three-goal lead to leave Villa boss Paul Lambert with plenty to ponder just two weeks before the Premier League season commences.
Chery struck twice in the first seven minutes and Jarchinio Antonia stunned Villa with a third goal.
Charles N’Zogbia pulled a goal back 14 minutes from time with a fine free-kick, but Groningen had the final say as Dino Islamovic added a fourth goal right at the death to complete a resounding victory.
Lambert fielded a strong starting line-up including the likes of Fabian Delph, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann, but Ron Vlaar watched from the stands and was sorely missed in his homeland as Villa’s abject display highlighted the importance of keeping their captain.
New signings Philippe Senderos and Kieran Richardson also started, but Lambert will be eager to bring in further reinforcements on the evidence of this performance.
Villa were behind after only four minutes, when midfielder Chery capitalised on a poor clearance from goalkeeper Shay Given to open the scoring.
Things went from bad to worse for the visitors three minutes later, but this time there was nothing Given could do to keep out a stunning long-range strike from Chery.
Villa showed some attacking threat 24 minutes in when Wiemann released Richardson down the right and Darren Bent’s effort was blocked after the midfielder picked him out.
Yoell van Nieff called Given into action with an effort that looked destined for the bottom corner of the net before the veteran goalkeeper got down well to palm the ball to safety.
The home side did not have long to wait for a third goal though, as forward Antonia applied a simple finish following Danny Hoesen’s cross in the 32nd minute.
Ciaran Clark’s frustration got the better of him when he clattered into Nick van der Velden and was shown a yellow card.
Lambert used all of his substitutes, with Leandro Bacuna given a great ovation when he was introduced against his former club, and N’Zogbia made the most of his opportunity as he curled a free-kick into the top corner 14 minutes from time.
Swede Islamovic added insult to injury with a fourth goal right at the end as Villa were put to the sword.